The flux of meteoroids, or number of meteoroids per unit area per unit time, is critical for calibrating models of meteoroid stream formation and for estimating the hazard to spacecraft from shower and sporadic meteors. Although observations of meteors in the millimetre to centimetre size range are common, flux measurements (particularly for sporadic meteors, which make up the majority of meteoroid flux) are less so. It is necessary to know the collecting area and collection time for a given set of observations, and to correct for observing biases and the sensitivity of the system. Previous measurements of sporadic fluxes are summarized in Figure 1; the values are given as a total number of meteoroids striking the earth in one year to a given limiting mass. The Gr n et al. (1985) flux model is included in the figure for reference. Fluxes for sporadic meteoroids impacting the Earth have been calculated for objects in the centimeter size range using Super-Schmidt observations (Hawkins & Upton, 1958); this study used about 300 meteors, and used only the physical area of overlap of the cameras at 90 km to calculate the flux, corrected for angular speed of meteors, since a large angular speed reduces the maximum brightness of the meteor on the film, and radiant elevation, which takes into account the geometric reduction in flux when the meteors are not perpendicular to the horizontal. They bring up corrections for both partial trails (which tends to increase the collecting area) and incomplete overlap at heights other than 90 km (which tends to decrease it) as effects that will affect the flux, but estimated that the two effects cancelled one another. Halliday et al. (1984) calculated the flux of meteorite-dropping fireballs with fragment masses greater than 50 g, over the physical area of sky accessible to the MORP fireball cameras, counting only observations in clear weather. In the micron size range, LDEF measurements of small craters on spacecraft have been used to estimate the flux (Love & Brownlee, 1993); here the physical area of the detector is well known, but the masses depend strongly on the unknown velocity distribution. In the same size range, Thomas & Netherway (1989) used the narrow-beam radar at Jindalee to calculate the flux of sporadics. In between these very large and very small sizes, a number of video and photographic observations were reduced by Ceplecha (2001). These fluxes were calculated (details are given in Ceplecha, 1988) taking the Halliday et al. (1984) MORP fireball fluxes, slightly corrected in mass, as a calibration, and adjusting the flux of small cameras to overlap with the number/mass relation from that work.
Space Sciences (General)
Meteoroids: The Smallest Solar System Bodies; 304-312; NASA/CP-2011-216469